This reminds me of the odd arguments from Macht and Chris that New Atheists are "contradicting themselves" by arguing for a positive worldview/culture/values that they allegedly deny is a worldview/etc. But again, most New Atheists are quite self-conscious promoters of what they see as Enlightenment culture, values of rational inquiry, and so forth. So it's very odd to see people suggesting the opposite.
Now, it's very obvious that New Atheism is a positive view, so I don't think Shermer has any excuse whatsoever. But for the others - denying that New Atheists believe theirs is a positive view - I think their confusion arises from misinterpreting the rhetoric of normality. New Atheists like to suggest that "atheism is the default view", for example. Chris interpreted this as a descriptive claim, refuted by the cultural contingency of Enlightenment values. But of course that isn't what's meant at all. It's a normative claim -- basically an affirmation of Occam's Razor -- not the sort of thing that can be refuted by mere anthropology.
Similarly, Macht wrote:
A major theme of the new atheists is that as various cultures modernize, they inevitably get rid of out-dated traditions and religions. "Modernization" is like a chicken nugget factory, where whole chickens go in and all that comes out is the crisp, juicy nuggets - free of all the feathers, beaks, bones and innards (mostly). It doesn't matter what kind of chicken goes in - an old one, a young one, a fat one, a chicken with two heads, perhaps even a rat or two. What matters is that there is this factory and it can take in a wide variety of chicken and chicken-like things and strip them of all the unnecessary and hard to swallow parts.
But this conflates two claims:
(1) that reason is universal, i.e. all inquirers will ultimately converge as they become more rational ("modern"); and
(2) that this process is wholly negative, involving only subtraction.
New Atheists advance claim #1. But nobody believes the absurd #2. Rationality is not achieved via lobotomy. When we talk about "getting rid of irrationality", we do not mean this as a purely negative process. Part of what it is to dispel an illusion - in the fullest sense - is to develop your awareness of what's real. To overcome a bias, you replace it with a balanced perspective. Etc. So although New Atheists sometimes talk about their rational ideals as a kind of "baseline", they do not mean that it is our actual starting point, requiring no positive effort. Of course not. They mean it is a normative baseline, or basic standard, such that once we overcome all our mistakes we will be rationally compelled to end up there. The truth is sitting there waiting for us, there for the taking. That's not to say that we can just sit tight and have it fall into our lap.
In short: the chicken factory adds some crucial spices that would otherwise be missing. And that's precisely what we like about it.